Charlie Lyne: assorted Ultra Culture
December 2009 - Ultra Culture Review of the Year 2009
First off, I should point out that the following zines were produced during the tail end of my teen years, and that sufficient time hasn’t really passed to start being embarrassed by them. Come back to me in five years and I’ll probably be more mortified by some of my wildly obvious pretensions; for now, I’m still unapologetic.
I started a movie blog called Ultra Culture
when I was sixteen, and after consistently failing to get any work printed in a real magazine (damn you Little White Lies!) in late 2009 I decided to make my first zine. I roped in some friends to contribute, as well as reaching out to a few people I idolised at the time (and still do in fact), many of whom were lovely enough to offer up a little something. I was so proud of the roster that it ended up boastfully filling most of the front cover, partly because my original idea — to get all the contributors to hold up a single word from the title of the zine — fell apart. On the bright side, I am now the proud owner of this photograph of Simon Pegg holding up the word “THE”:
The quality of writing on my part was quite low (although I did coin the portmanteau word ‘crapbucket’) but all the amazing help I had with it (not least from the BFI Southbank, who agreed to sell it in their shop) made the final product worthwhile, even if I had to make six trips to a grotty warehouse in Farringdon to get it printed and ended up losing about £100 because I priced it too low.
One feature I was particularly proud of was this collaboration with photographer Katy Dillon
, in which we traipsed around Central London taking pictures of me with various celebrity masks on:
We did half of them at 5am on a Monday morning on the way to our respective art schools; it was a fucking nightmare.
16 December 2010 - Ultra Culture Review of the Year 2010
It was a year before I attempted another zine, and only after I realised that I could save a lot of time and money by printing it on folded A4 paper rather than folded A3. Since May 2010, I’d been running a series of events at the beautiful ICA cinema under the banner of Ultra Culture Cinema, and our fifth event (a screening of the amazing documentary Catfish - see it asap if you haven’t already) was scheduled for mid-December, so I decided to do a follow-up zine to distribute at that.
The lead interview was with Sandra Hebron, the then-artistic director of the London Film Festival, who’d become something of a running joke on my blog (for reasons too convoluted to get into here). Sandra sees more movies in a given year than anyone else I’ve ever met, so her segment of the zine quite rightly exposed my contributions as the uninformed messes they really were.
Again, some awesome people very kindly leant their time and effort to the zine, not least my all-time hero Harmony Korine, who agreed to do a short interview about Christmas
. It made all the hours spent screaming at the 18th Century photocopier in the ICA’s basement worthwhile.
4 March 2011 - Submarine
It was three months before the next Ultra Culture Cinema event: a preview of Richard Ayoade’s killer directorial debut Submarine. Again, I made a short zine to give out on the night, and thanks to the film’s distributor Optimum Releasing (now Studio Canal) I managed to get some proper access to the cast and crew (no more trying to get in touch with people via Facebook — hooray!). Stars Craig Roberts and Yasmin Paige both contributed portraits of one another, and Joe Dunthorne (who wrote the sublime novel on which the film is based) wrote an introduction from Oliver Tate, the film’s lead character:
I also sent off some questions to the notoriously shy Ayoade, but in the end I only got one (admittedly very good) answer back:
“Has the reaction to the film been as you expected?”
“Yes and no. I’ve been moonlighting as a freelance journalist to various publications. I like some of the reviews I’ve written, but in others I was a little harsh. I think I have self-hate issues.”
(That lovely illustration is the work of Alix Holden, incidentally.)
The proudest night of my life came on the 17th June 2011, when I managed to persuade 150 people to pay £10 each to come and see the 2004 teen classic EuroTrip (one of my favourite movies of all time) at the ICA. It was the first time a print of the film had been shown anywhere in the world since its original release in 2004, so I decided to make one last zine to celebrate.
It was laid out (in hindsight, somewhat pompously) as a sort of academic study, complete with a double page spread of excerpts from original reviews of the film (Sight&Sound were a bit sniffy but did praise its ‘gleeful bad-taste energy’) and a 2500-word essay on the film’s merits by yours truly.
Thanks to the magic of the internet, I also managed to get interviews with some of the supporting cast from the film, including J.P. Manoux (who plays the dancing robot guy) and Jessica Boehrs (who plays the hot German girl Mieke — her nude scenes were somewhat formative for me back in 2004, I seem to recall). On the off chance that any of it is of interest to anybody but me, most of the zine is now available online
Anyway, that’s enough self-indulgence for now. They’re all going back in the box until such time as they have amassed immeasurable value. I fear it may be a while.